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  • Writer's pictureMike Riska

A Voluntary Benefits Package That Is “Good Enough” Just Isn’t Good Enough Anymore

It’s difficult to browse LinkedIn or read a business-related article these days without seeing a reference to the “Great Resignation.” As millions of workers each month are leaving their jobs in favor of greater freedom, safety, and fulfillment, employers find it increasingly difficult to attract and retain engaged, highly skilled employees.

Today’s professionals are looking for more than high salaries, generous bonuses, and “fun” perks like on-site game rooms and weekly pizza parties. They’re looking for enhanced employer-sponsored voluntary benefits to help them cope with the turbulent post-pandemic world.

It’s important to note that while millions of employees are seriously thinking about leaving their current employers, they’re also actively looking for reasons they should stay.

After all, they know that leaving will cause significant disruption in their lives - something that many workers have had quite enough of during the COVID-19 pandemic. What they really want, in most cases, is for their employers to step up, find out what resources their employees need to adjust to the “new normal” of the post-pandemic world, and make it simple for employees to access those resources.

The stress, isolation, and upheaval caused by the pandemic have prompted significant mindset and lifestyle changes for countless millions of professionals around the world. In no small part, mental health and personal wellness have become overwhelming priorities - people are starting to discover that a greater emphasis on self-care is necessary to continue growing and thriving as the pandemic (hopefully) winds down.

Rife with uncertainty, the pandemic has also led many employees to place a much greater emphasis on financial health as well. More than a year of economic instability has sparked professionals across all industries to want to take control of their finances so that they can protect themselves against future disruption and enjoy more fulfilling lifestyles.

As part of this trend, employees are looking for benefits that can help them manage their new awareness of uncertainty - critical care, pet, accident, and life insurance coverage are popular demands among today’s workforce.

Data shows that this shift has provided employers that sponsor voluntary benefits programs with much greater leverage than even one year ago. By listening to their employees to determine which services and resources are needed and giving them a simple way to manage their physical, mental, and financial health, employers can develop effective, attractive benefits programs that improve retention and minimize hiring costs.

Corestream conducted a survey that included a wide range of professionals and hiring managers and discovered numerous important trends that indicate the future of voluntary benefits packages. Here are a few of the most critical findings:

Employers must offer compelling voluntary benefits to attract, retain, and engage talented employees.

For today’s employees, voluntary benefits play an important role in their decision to stay with current employers or seek other opportunities.

  • 83% of hiring professionals say that enhancing voluntary benefits will help retain employees, while 72% say it can help attract new talent and improve employee engagement, producing better overall results. Also, 53% of HR professionals surveyed say that better voluntary benefits packages can improve employee productivity, and 63% believe they will save employees money.

  • The “weight” of voluntary benefits packages is steadily increasing in the eyes of potential job seekers. In 2020, 68% of workers say that they would consider an employer’s voluntary benefits package when deciding to leave or stay. Today, that percentage has risen to 75%.

Health and wellness benefits are essential in today’s workplace.

As employees voice their requests for more help balancing work, life, and countless other tasks and concerns, savvy employers are hearing these requests - and offering innovative solutions to help their employees cultivate a lifestyle that lets them be their best.

  • In 2020, 69% of employees stated that if their employer offered financial wellness and assistance programs, they would tap into these programs. In 2021, that number increased to 80%.

  • The three most requested financial wellness benefits? 48% of employees want purchasing programs, 45% want access to low-cost lending options, and 29% want access to help with debt refinancing and consolidation.

  • 54% of employees say they would sign up for employer-sponsored life insurance as a supplemental benefit if offered. 35% stated they would enroll in accident insurance, and the same percentage said they would enroll in an employer-sponsored critical illness plan.

There is a communication gap between employees and Human Resources.

  • Only 25% of employers report that they initiate benefits-related communications with their employees on a consistent basis throughout the year.

  • While some HR professionals typically feel they have adequately communicated information employees need to make appropriate voluntary benefits decisions, only 54% of workers say that they have a solid understanding of the benefits that are available through their employers.

  • Not all HR professionals agree that employees are receiving appropriately detailed benefits information, though - 33% say that their employees likely don’t understand all of the elements of their core and voluntary benefits packages.

In our “new normal,” businesses of all sizes will need to double down on employee retention efforts to remain competitive and achieve long-term success.

It’s important to understand what other employers are offering and what their voluntary benefits packages leave out. In an economic environment where voluntary benefits are a primary motivator for active and prospective job-seekers, growth-focused companies must act quickly and strategically.

A voluntary benefits package that is “good enough” just isn’t good enough anymore.

To find out more about how you can offer and maximize the power of attractive voluntary benefits, get in touch with one of our experienced professionals today.

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